top of page

"And when I write about it like that, I actually want to go back straight away."

Martha reports

"I forgot to say goodbye to my dogs!" This thought occurred to me when I was on my way to Hamburg airport with my mother and for the first time I really realized that I would be spending four months in a foreign country, in a foreign place, with foreign people. Of course I was really excited and had a lot of anticipation, but at that moment I was also a little scared.

But that feeling gradually faded when Max called me while I was waiting at the gate for my flight and told me that Hannah, another volunteer in Frankfurt, would be taking the same flight to Windhoek. Hannah and I wrote a bit on WhatsApp before we finally met and that made me, and I think she did too, feel less alone in the new situation.

That is also something that I was able to experience and appreciate during my time in Namibia. No matter what, you never feel alone. Be it the Wadadee team itself or the people in the house or in the project. Everyone always had an open ear. In any case, it is clear that you got to know a special kind of person there as part of your volunteering. Everyone is very open, social, sensitive and has a very positive aura. That creates an atmosphere in which you can only feel comfortable.

My main project was the INAMI kindergarten. My day there started at 7:30 a.m. First we did little things with the children and left it up to them to decide how they wanted to spend their morning, for example puzzles, color games and the like. Classes started at 9 a.m. Here we were always thinking of new little things. Sometimes the "kindergarten director" Brumie did school preparation with the older children and we learned through play with the younger children or just did fun creative things together. One day, for example, we painted dinosaurs with our hands and sport and yoga were always a lot of fun activities. At lunchtime we were usually outside or at the playground which is very close by. There was also a lot of dancing, which was really nice. Music is a must here!

Another very nice experience was our trip to the swimming pool. Brumie was very quick to support the plan and Wadadee provided us with a bus and additional volunteers. I think all the volunteers and children had a very nice day.

But to be a bit realistic, I have to say that not everything has always been easy and wonderful. Or maybe sometimes you have to let go of the meaning of "wonderful" that some of us had in mind before.

One day I came home from the BNC in the afternoon and was completely frayed. My planned lessons didn't work out the way I had imagined, the children were children, in other words they were very loud and difficult to get excited about the lessons and at the end of the day I was a bit frustrated and actually had a few tears in my eyes. But that's part of it and it's normal.

Looking back, such days have often been the most educational for me. My frustration tolerance has definitely increased and, above all, I have learned understanding and empathy. If a child had a difficult day for me, I could often find reasons for their behavior in a calm conversation and adapt much better to the children's needs, which made the lessons much more enjoyable for the children and for me. It was always great somehow and you constantly grew with your tasks.

It was really nice to see how the children developed and opened up in such a short time. I noticed this particularly strongly with a little girl from INAMI. One of the best moments was when she called out "Bye Teacher Marte". When I started the project, it was not easy for her to form complete words and sentences. So this sentence was a great achievement that made me extremely happy.

I could tell you so much more about this time, but it would take forever.

In conclusion, it was definitely much easier to fly to a foreign country and an uncertain time than to fly back to Germany from a place that gradually felt like home. With which I associate so many positive, beautiful and educational moments and people. One thing is certain: this will not be my last time in Africa, because Namibia and its people have become very dear to my heart. And when I write about it like this, I actually want to go back straight away.

Thank you for everything!

bottom of page